Covid: Voter anger over lockdown parties, and is pandemic entering its endgame?

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Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Saturday morning. We'll have another update for you tomorrow.

1. Voter anger mounts over lockdown parties

Conservative MPs have been contacted by hundreds of angry constituents about the reports of parties being held in Downing Street while Covid restrictions were in place. The MPs say their inboxes have filled up, with one telling the BBC the situation now feels "terminal". It comes after Downing Street apologised to Buckingham Palace on Friday for two staff parties in No 10 on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral. Meanwhile, Laura Kuenssberg wonders what's a prime minister to do when even kids joke about his future?

Image source, UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor via Reuters

2. Is the pandemic entering its endgame?

"I think life in 2022 will be almost back to before the pandemic," Prof Julian Hiscox, chairman in infection and global health at the University of Liverpool, says. There is growing confidence that the Omicron variant could be hurtling the UK into the pandemic end game. But what might that look like? There will be no magic wand to make the virus disappear, but instead we will have to get used to the word "endemic", meaning Covid is here to stay.

3. Christmas Covid rules 'cost pubs £16,000 each'

Covid restrictions have had a significant impact on businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector. In December, the Welsh government put restrictions on large events and businesses. Pubs lost on average £16,000 each during the latest round of Covid measures, according to the Welsh Beer and Pub Association. The group's chief executive Emma McClarkin said "a lot of damage has been done", but welcomed restrictions being lifted over the next two weeks as Wales moves to alert level zero.

Image source, Getty Images

4. 'We're so proud of how Bertie bounced back'

"When I think about how proud I am, it just makes me that emotional," says the mother of five-year-old Bertie, who is non-verbal and has autism. A challenging lockdown saw him deprived of his special needs playgroup, autism outreach and speech therapy. But since he's joined school, he's thrived, says his mother Laura, from Loughborough.

Media caption,
'We were losing our little boy in front of our eyes'

5. Call to follow Sheen's lead to save charities

Covid had been "devastating" for charities who rely on retail income, according to the head of the British Heart Foundation Cymru, which lost about £50m in the first year of the pandemic due to shop closures. Now charities are urging people to follow in the footsteps of actor Michael Sheen after he donated some suits to a store in Port Talbot. They have since sold for hundreds of pounds apiece on eBay.

Image source, Getty Images

And there's more...

Covid cases in the UK are on the way down. Has the winter wave peaked already?

Image source, BBC

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